Tag Archives: Xbox One X

Prey: Mooncrash review

Prey: Mooncrash is a very clever and highly enjoyable melding of first-person shooting and exploration with Rogue-like death and replay. It manages to create an entirely fresh experience in the Prey universe. Moreover, it’s fantastically compelling.

You are tasked with entering a simulation and reliving the desperate escape of five individuals that are trapped on the lunar base with Typhon enemies. Much like the core game, the Typhon come in a variety of forms, including the Mimics which morph into different objects to deceive and scare the hell out of you, and bi-pedal forms known as Phantoms. Some additional, new forms are also present in Mooncrash, including a tentacle spewing egg and a terrifically named ‘moon shark’. Dealing with these enemies, either through combat with whatever weaponry you manage to find – melee and projectile – or through environmental hazard manipulation, sneaking, or your very own Typhon abilities and skills provided by implants, is the order of the day.

Indeed, there’s a wealth of options as to how you choose to engage, or avoid, conflict, and the same can be said for progressing through the moon base. Multiple paths are available with different obstacles to traverse, whether these are locked doors requiring pass cards, hacking skills, passwords gained by reading notes and emails or the computer terminals, let alone the environmental hazards and enemies. However, a big change with Mooncrash over the core game are the five characters you control.

To begin with you’re limited to a single character, but as you play his unique escape attempt you gradually unlock the additional characters. This can occur when you discover their corpse for the first time, or by achieving the specific story objective for a character. These objectives are present for each character and revolves around one of the five available escape methods, such as using the escape pod, flying out on a shuttle, etc. Meanwhile, additional objectives are also available for each character, should you feel the need to put yourself in great danger and uncover more of the plot.

With the Rogue-like addition of skills carrying over even after death, and the environment maintaining a persistent state for each cycle, after a dozen or so attempts you’ll have the whole cast ready to go, allowing you to use the abilities of different characters to help pave the way for the others. The ultimate goal is the have a perfect run; where all five characters manage to escape during a single, unbroken cycle. However, achieving this is anything but simple.

Determining which characters can do what is largely a case of trial and error and is discovered simply by using them. However, understanding the base layout and what activates what, takes some exploration, and the more you explore the more dangerous it becomes. This isn’t only because of the random spawning of enemies for each cycle but also because of an imposed time limit. The simulation technology you’re using is unstable, and the longer you remain in it, the more unstable it becomes. This instability is measured in levels, and as each level is reached, new enemies spawn and become more aggressive. It’s a clever mechanic that adds urgency and threat with an effective randomness; it’s Rogue-like at its best.

And indeed, it’s these Rogue-like elements that make this such an interesting experience. Items and enemies surprise you with different spawn locations each cycle, the environment also changes throwing unforeseeable obstacles at you, all the while your cast of characters are gradually getting stronger, your knowledge of the base is increasing, and those five escape plans and their order begin to reveal themselves. Pair this with Prey’s environmental storytelling, intense combat and terrifying enemies, and you’ve got a tremendously unique and engaging package.

Prey’s core mechanics of exploration, limited ammo and health, and horror would make figuring out how to achieve each characters’ escape frustrating due to the amount of times it causes your demise, but due to the Rogue-like qualities of skill retention and a semi-persistent environment, it makes this a unique and entertaining experience that’s hard to put down.

Thanks to Bethesda for supporting TiX

Rebellion releases new Strange Brigade trailer

Rebellion have released a new Strange Brigade trailer ahead of E3. The new trailer features a sneak peak at the Hidden Valley level of the game and also features much more heavy firepower than we have seen before, along with some more traps. This is still one of my most eagerly awaited games of 2018, and look forward to seeing much more of it before the August 28th release.

Much more information can be found on the official website.

Strange Brigade release date set to August 28th on Xbox, PS4 and PC

Tix’s Day Out at EGX Rezzed 2018!

 

Immortal Redneck review

Immortal Redneck doesn’t require a massive long drawn out review, basically because it’s not a massive game with lots of elements to it. What is essentially a roguelike FPS dungeon crawler Immortal Redneck is set in ancient Egypt and you play a mummified Redneck on a mission to try and make it to the top of the pyramid. Not much of why you end up like that is explained but it doesn’t really matter to be honest because there is not that much depth to the game either. That being said, the whole point of the game is to look for answers inside the pyramid but again, it’s not really that important.

Your job is to enter the pyramid and make your way floor by floor to the top, when you enter a room the door is locked and you have to face multiple enemies and destroy them to move on, however, they become more dangerous and more and more concentrated making your journey that little bit harder. You have three weapons to choose from and each are suited to their own speciality but you have to be very careful because if you die you’re back to square one, no matter how far up the pyramid you get to and you have to face a newly generated pyramid.

Exploration is key to each floor and this can be quite time-consuming but if you want to make it to the top it’s worth spending that little extra time looking around for items that may help you in the long run. Each floor has different enemy types ranging from little annoying frogs to big bounding beasts that take a couple of shotgun blasts to put down. Each enemy could drop something such as health or ammo to help you on your way. The enemies don’t mess around though and make you their primary target leaving sections of the game quite challenging and very addictive. Don’t expect this to be a walk in the park because it’s not.

After a few levels, you will encounter a boss that makes for a refreshing change to the gameplay, you have to use tactics and strategy on some bosses but most are engaging if not a slightly repetitive but still, the challenge makes the boss fights very enjoyable indeed. Choosing your weapon on a boss fight is important and there are loads of weapons available. You have machine guns, shotguns, RPG’s and all sorts of different weapons that give you the upper hand on the enemy. Every now and then a scroll will drop that could give you an attribute, a sort of buff, but this could go either way and be bad as well as good.

There are also different gods that you can choose from depending how you like to play and each comes with a passive skill as well as a special ability such as healing or damage. Each time you die – and depending on how far you made it before – you get the opportunity to use points to upgrade certain aspects of your god to give them the edge on your next attempt. Immortal Redneck is extremely addictive and pulls you into just have one more game. You can last ages or just a few minutes on the pyramid but all is down to you and how careful you want to play.

With the controls being generic FPS, the game is very easy to pick up and start crawling through each stage. For such a small and basic game to have such a replay factor is a massive accomplishment for developers Crema games. The levels are big enough to explore but not too big to get lost and become frustrated by. The sound won’t win any awards but it does what it should and provides the game with character.

Like I said, not too much to say for such a small game but overall Immortal Redneck is definitely worth a play, whilst the visuals are basic and won’t take your breath away the playability makes up for that and gets you hooked as you make your way to the top of the pyramids. I am yet to make it to the second pyramid but that being said I’m not giving up and I’m leaving Immortal Redneck in proud place on my installed games list. Well Done Crema.

Microsoft and Discord team up to Connect Gamers

Microsoft and Discord have teamed up in order to ensure gamers are connected across both the Xbox and Discord platforms. Starting in the Xbox Insider program soon, you will have the option to link your Xbox Live account to your Discord account directly from your Xbox One, and this will become available to the broader Xbox community at a later date.

Simply open the Account Settings menu on Xbox One, and select “Linked social accounts.” Here, you will see a new option for linking your Discord account. Once you receive your unique code from Xbox, open the Discord app and insert the code within the Connections tab.

Daniel McCulloch, General Manager at Xbox Live, shares the details. “Connecting with friends is such a big part of why people game. Gamers all over the world use and Discord to easily chat and connect with friends while they game. In the coming weeks, this collaboration will make it easier for gamers to choose do just that – make it easier to connect and see what friends are playing across console and PC. It’s part of the work we are doing to provide gamers with more choice, allowing them to play how and where they want to.”

“In response to your feedback, you will now have the option to link your Discord account to your Xbox account, making it easier than ever to see what your friends are playing. If you are playing Sea of Thieves on your Xbox, you can now choose to give your Discord friends the ability to see that and decide whether they want to hop on their Xbox and join you.”

 

 

Xbox Backwards Compatibility gets 19 Original Xbox Titles

Microsoft have announced a huge amount of new titles coming to the Backwards Compatibility program, including a number of 360 titles that have been enhanced for the Xbox One X, and a number of original Xbox games available to play on all Xbox One systems.

So, the 360 titles coming enhanced for the Xbox One X are Red Dead Redemption, Portal 2, Gears of War 2, Darksiders, Star Wars:The Force Unleashed and Sonic Generations. All are available now, and should have updates waiting for you to download. Xbox 360 games enhanced for Xbox One X run at a higher resolution and 9X the original pixel count when played on Xbox One X. The power of Xbox One X enables the Xbox 360 emulator to showcase the very best version of the game possible with the existing assets – all without touching the game code. And through the power of Backward Compatibility, fans can choose whether they want to experience these games with enhanced graphics or in their original form.

The original Xbox titles will be released in two sections, the first on April 17th and the second group on the 26th. All of these Original Xbox games will take advantage of the power of Xbox One with up to 4x the pixel count on Xbox One and Xbox One S, and up to 16x the pixel count on Xbox One X. You’ll be able to play all of these games on Xbox One through the disc you already own, or you can purchase them digitally in the Microsoft Store. Coming on the 17th are;

  • Blinx: The Time Sweeper
  • Breakdown
  • Conker: Live & Reloaded
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  • Hunter: The Reckoning
  • Jade Empire
  • Panzer Dragoon Orta
  • SSX 3

And following on the 26th are;

  • Destroy All Humans!
  • Full Spectrum Warrior
  • Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
  • MX Unleashed
  • Panzer Elite Action: Fields of Glory
  • Star Wars Battlefront
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
  • Star Wars Jedi Starfighter
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
  • Star Wars Republic Commando

 

Sea Of Thieves Review

It’s probably quite safe to say that a large amount of people at Xbox HQ in Seattle, and a smaller, but more personally invested group of devs in Twycross, England have very high hopes for Sea Of Thieves. Microsoft have been loudly criticised for both the lack of first party titles for the Xbox console, and also for the relegation of Rare to development of games for the ill-fated Kinect. But the development of Sea of Thieves has not been without its criticism either, with concern about the lack of content within the game during its various beta phases over the last year or so. This is a difficult review for me to write, as I also share the hope that this will be a huge turning point in the quality of the first party Xbox titles and be a huge success for the English studio that has had so much success in the past. Anything less than an excellent game would surely invite criticism from the more cynical areas of the internet. Although I have the responsibility of this review you will also get the opinions of other members of the TiX team throughout.

I am in an fortunate position of having a full-time job and family responsibilities to juggle with my game reviewing duties, and one thing is certain. I have not been able to devote enough time to playing Sea Of Thieves, as I want to be spending every waking hour in this beautifully crafted world. Since release I have invested around 30 hours, either as part of a four man crew with the TiX team, as a solo player, or with my thirteen year old son manning a two person sloop. And whichever game mode I have played I have had just the best time. Gameplay wise Sea Of Thieves is relatively simple, with the bulk of the game consisting of levelling up three different factions. Each one of these factions, which have stores at each of the outposts, will sell you voyages which will give you and your crew an objective. The Gold Hoarders will generally give you a treasure map, the Merchant Alliance will provide a list of goods that need to be delivered to another outpost, and the Order of Lost Souls will give you a wanted poster for a ghostly pirate.

There are virtually no menus in SoT, all the actions are done via in-game activities. Whichever voyage you take from the three mentioned above will need to be proposed at the captain’s table on your ship, and then voted on by the rest of the crew. Only when consensus is given does the voyage start, and you will then receive your objectives. The lack of menus also means there is no mini-map, or GPS guidance. Navigating to your destination is done via a map table on the ship and your compass. Forget a nice HUD as well, the only on-screen bar you will see is your health bar, and only when you are less than 100% health. This simplicity forces all of your crew to have roles when sailing, as the captain cannot leave the wheel to check the map, or be expected to move the sail position in order to catch the most wind. It forces communication between players to ensure the ship is a well oiled machine.

However, you can choose a solo adventure in a smaller boat, and the gameplay is extremely similar, although more emphasis is on running and hiding when in your sloop, whilst as part of a four man galleon you take on an air of invincibility. Rare encourage the use of proximity game chat, as this is a perfect way to communicate with others in the world. Just last night our three man galleon came across a one-man sloop and over the game chat we made it quite clear we would leave the sloop alone if he didn’t fire on us. A quick wave emote gesture followed and we all went on our merry way. Little did he know that we were carrying a huge amount of treasure and were desperate to avoid any conflict on the way back to the outpost!

On your adventures you can also encounter shipwrecks – which may or may not contain some random treasure – and on the islands themselves I have found chests, relics or supplies that can all be collected and sold. The islands however also contain skeletons, all fixated on turning you into one of them, which leads us into the combat mechanics. At any time you can carry two of the four available weapons, which can be changed on the ship, but ammo is limited and only refillable once back on the ship. Dealing with some of the tougher enemies mean that there are endless shuttle runs to and from the moored ship in order to refill. Your pirate’s health is refilled by eating bananas and it is highly possible to be killed by the lowest strength skeleton, whereby you will spawn back on the ship, which makes keeping it afloat of high importance as if it gets sunk then you will respawn at a nearby outpost.

Although it feels like a bit of a beast your ship is actually rather fragile. Any scrape on a rock will cause a hole to appear and water to gush in. Failure to deal with this and your boat will sink. Holes can be repaired with planks of wood, and water can be removed by using your trusty bucket. Taking cannon fire from enemy ships or skeleton manned fortresses does even more damage, so again, having a communicating crew is vital in order to fight back, or run away, all whilst repairing and bailing as you go.

Graphically Sea Of Thieves is just stunning, and I challenge you to find another game that looks and feels as good as this. Particular credit must go to the devs responsible for the water. Whether its still, calm and blue or dark and raging with white crested waves, it looks and feels realistic, which is the biggest compliment you could give it. Add to that the sound design, which is equally incredible, from the sound of the water crashing over the ship’s bow to the horrific pressurised creaking you hear whilst on the lower deck when the ship is going full pelt. We have also recently experienced the Kraken in all its splendour, and the ominous sounds of that beast is just insane, not to mention the thrill you feel when taking it on.

Dave Moran – “I’m loving the exploring and the silliness of it all – it’s a gorgeous looking game, I’d love them to add crews to it, so we could have a standard set of ships.”

So, at this point there are no complaints. It looks, sounds and plays pretty much as perfect as you could imagine. But I have one major concern with Sea Of Thieves. For all the beauty in the world that Rare has created, it all feels just a bit lifeless. The outposts contain traders, but they are the only non-skeletal NPC’s you will encounter, and across the large map there are other players all going about their voyages, but it is possible to go a long gameplay session without bumping into anyone, which is strange. In my opinion the world is screaming out for NPC characters on the islands, and the possibility of NPC ships that need hunting down and defeating would add another level to the game.

The perceived lack and variety of content is also a very hot topic at the moment, and I understand the concerns but don’t necessarily agree with them. However, once I had levelled up the Gold Hoarder faction the treasure maps were replaced with riddles, which gave me a fresh impetus to see just what was next, and made the voyages more enjoyable. However I am already extremely bored with the merchant quests, especially the ones where you have to catch Pigs and Chickens. Again, levelling up brought some variety to the merchant quests but I would be happy to never have to run around an island with a crate trying to find a White Feathered Chicken ever again! This could be improved with the ability to have multiple voyages active, so you could animal hunt whilst finding treasure. However, I am witnessing the more cynical places of the internet taking the same agenda it took with Destiny 2 on content, which is a real shame and a huge overreaction. The openness of Rare in the development process so far is not going to wane now the game is released, so lets hope they address some of the more constructive criticism.

Rich Berry – “I’ve had lots of fun with it although I just feel it lacks depth – what’s the point? Had some interesting player encounters but very few. Needs more complexity into the objectives of mystery. Love the adventure with friends part and keeping stock of supplies. When you run a Galleon efficiently it’s pretty cool – its a shame the treasure really only equals atheistic reward.”

However, as well as the voyages previously mentioned there is more content in the form of Skeleton Fortresses, which are extremely difficult. They are announced as active with a large skull cloud formation appearing over the island, and are full of skeletons to defeat, from the basic gun-toting model, to the metal ones that are only defeated when standing in (or splashed) with water. Every attempt we have taken at these has resulted in abject disaster, but our time will come!

I have a few more niggles, especially the mysterious stranger in the tavern who tells you to come back when all factions have reached level five, then level ten, then fifteen, without actually rewarding you for hitting those targets. At times I have received an on-screen riddle, with no clue what it relates to. But by far the biggest problem, and it’s not a fault with the game at all, is the toxic behaviour of some players. Yes, it’s a pirate game, and I expect and accept that a rival crew is going to want to attack me and steal my treasure. But when they do it whilst screaming racial abuse, or just to be a nuisance then it is a different matter. On launch night, four of the TiX team were manning a galleon, two dropped out at the end of the evening, and were immediately replaced by two randoms, one of which constantly dropped the anchor, moved the sails and threw treasure overboard, but could not be removed by placing in the brig, as the second random was uncommunicative. Lesson learned to move to a sloop as soon as the full player count was depleted, but there is no way to do this without losing progress on the active voyage. Rare could address this with the addition of a quick player/boat change during play in order to keep progress. This toxicity problem is not Rare’s fault or thier doing, but it is putting people off playing, especially solo, which could affect the games lifespan.

Rob Tonge – “One of the best looking games I’ve ever seen. I quickly forget about any objective and just stand in the end of the shop and gaze upon the beautiful horizon……..only to forget and fall into the sea and get eaten by a shark. Not the most engaging game but there is loads of scope for more content, I just hope they bring it and soon before the dedicated following it has gets bored and moves on.”

It is safe to say that I adore Sea Of Thieves, and I will be continuing to put as many hours in as I possibly can in order to reach the coveted Pirate Legend status. I am also certain that Rare will continue to add new content and patch and improve for the long term. But I also have friends who don’t like it, and describe it as an unfinished game that should have been released into Game Preview. Another one of their concerns is the lack of progression. Whilst each successful voyage will earn you gold, which can be spent on weapons, clothing and your boat, they are cosmetic only, and don’t make your character stronger or give your gun more ammo, so what’s the point? I can see why this design decision was made, as Rare didn’t want a newcomer to the game being attacked by high level players with superior weapons. But again, something just doesn’t feel right, and I can understand the concern.

Given all these concerns I have one final point to make. Sea Of Thieves strength isn’t about progression, or levelling up. It’s all about the adventures that you will have along the way. Every single member of the TiX team who has played Sea Of Thieves will have multiple stories about what happened to them. How they destroyed an enemy ship by jumping on board with an explosive barrel. How they lured a group of enemy skeletons to the beach where the ship was waiting with its cannons. How they found a shipwreck with two lost soul skulls that sold for £1500. And none of these moments are scripted or written. Sea Of Thieves is about having adventures with your friends. And it succeeds.

Thanks to Rare and Xbox for supporting TiX.

 

Buy an Xbox One X and get Sea Of Thieves Free!

We are literally only days away from the launch of Sea Of Thieves and Microsoft have announced that from March 18th through to March 24th – at selected retailers – a purchase of an Xbox One X will come with a digital copy of Rare’s Sea Of Thieves.

If you’re still not convinced by the 4k loveliness of the Xbox One X there is also the Xbox One S Sea of Thieves Bundle, which comes with an Xbox One S with a 1TB hard drive, Xbox Wireless Controller, a full-game download of Sea of Thieves and 1-month of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. The Xbox One S Sea of Thieves Bundle is available for pre-order now at participating retailers.

Also, don’t forget there are special edition and limited edition accessories available, including the Xbox Wireless Controller – Sea of Thieves Limited Edition, Seagate Special Edition Sea of Thieves 2TB Game Drive for Xbox and Controller Gear Limited Edition Sea of Thieves Xbox Pro Charging Stand and Xbox One Controller Stand V2.0.

Sea Of Thieves Skeleton Fort Encounters detailed

Join the Digital Treasure hunt for the Golden Banana with Sea of Thieves

PUBG on Xbox One reaches 5 Million Players

Its safe to say that PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds has been an amazing success since it had it’s console debut on the Xbox One back in December 2017. Four short months later and it’s been announced that the player count of 5 million players has been reached. The developers Bluehole have recently released their planned roadmap for the Xbox version.

To celebrate this achievement any player who logs into the game before March 25th will receive a free (in-game) PUBG5 Jacket.

Gravel Review

One of the biggest problems that Gravel faces, particularly on the Xbox One (which is the version that this review is based on), is that it’s always going to be compared to the Forza Horizon series. Which is really unfortunate as Gravel is a very good driving game, albeit without all the bells and whistles that you get with Playground’s masterpiece series of titles.

Gravel is developed by Milestone, an Italian team who have a good track record (sorry) in the driving game genre, having previously been responsible for the Moto GP and Ride games. They also used to develop the official Rally World championship games before it was passed to BigBen and Kylotonn. Having played and reviewed the disappointing WRC7 last year, my view is that an official rally game in this engine would be pretty darn impressive.

Although Gravel and the Forza Horizon series share a lot of similarities, the presentation methods are very different. Gravel ditches the open-world setting and instead goes for an edgy, Xtreme sports TV theme, called the Gravel Channel. Before races you are treated (or endured) to a commentator telling you just how awesome the upcoming race will be, and then afterwards you are told how great the race was, and to be honest this does become tedious and stale after a while. There are also some incredibly ridiculous lines of dialogue, my favourite being “If you didn’t faint whilst watching this race you’re used to strong emotions.” Wow. Although these lines of dialogue are repeated they are easily skipped and didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment. In the multitude of options that are available it can also be turned off, much to my pleasure.

So, with the open world setting not present it’s up to the menus to provide the jumping point to individual races. There are of course a number of game modes to choose from, the main one being Off Road Masters, and there are also Multiplayer, Time Attack, and Free Play modes to pick from. At this current time there are also Weekly Challenges which require you to beat a certain time in a set race.

But Off Road Masters is where most players will start. It is split into sixteen themed episodes, with each of the episodes featuring three to five individual events that will either be a single race or a small three race championship. Each race or championship has three stars up for grabs, with the whole three awarded for a win, two stars if you finish in the top three positions, and the measly one star if you manage to just complete it. Once you have enough stars you will unlock the next episode, so at times you will need to revisit earlier events for some easy stars! Amongst these episodes are special events, which are head to head races against the famous fictional drivers set in the Gravel world. There are no stars on offer here, but you will need to win the episode in order to progress.

As you win and progress your in-game level will go up and you will also unlock new cars and liveries. There are no purchases needed, as everything will be unlocked via your progression, however there is a menu option for DLC, which currently only contains a Porsche pack and a free “Bowler Bulldog” car. Obviously there is scope here for the addition of paid DLC in the shape of car packs, but as previously mentioned, there is nothing pushing you to spend real money in order to unlock cars.

There are seventeen different locations to race around, and from the beaches of Namibia’s Gold Coast to the city streets of Las Vegas these are truly a high point of Gravel. I fondly remember the first time I played the arcade version of Ridge Racer and being mesmerized by the background visuals, and Gravel gave me that same feeling. The locations are gorgeously created, whether you’re racing through sand dunes before bursting onto a beach and splashing through the water, or competing in the Florida stadium in huge trucks with fireworks exploding as you race through checkpoints. The weather and environmental effects are very impressive also, whether its water splashing up on your viewpoint as you race through the sea’s edge, or the faithful representation of that horrible muddy murky stuff you get on your windscreen in real life on a winter’s rainy day.

The driving mechanics are pretty spot-on as well. With a game mode called ‘Off Road Masters’ you will be pleased to know that you will spend most of your time sliding cars sideways through mud, grass or snow. This is achieved without too much skill and you will soon be sliding and drifting around corners with a huge smile on your face! The AI can be tough, as races can resemble stock-car races at times, and the collision detection never feels unfair. For example if you cut across the front of an opponent it will put you in a spin that will put you at the back and will be hard to recover from. Forza fans will be pleased that the rewind function is included, so any mistake can easily be rectified.

There are a number of different races to take part in. Lap Races and Checkpoint Races are standard eight car events, Time Attack is a single player blast to get the fastest time possible, Smash-Up is a single player lap or checkpoint race where you have to knock down targets as you race around, and Elimination is a survival race where the player in last position is eliminated every 30 seconds. All of these are fun except Smash-Up which I didn’t like at all. The targets you need to hit either have red crosses or green arrows, and if you hit the crosses it causes your car to slow down. Even if you hit the green first but then the back of your car brushes the red cross afterwards it still slows you down. I found these levels the most tedious to play as the fun factor was removed.

Unfortunately I did encounter some gameplay bugs. These ranged from slight graphical glitches, especially on maps which feature a large amount of water, as the shadows and reflections seemed to take a while to load in. On one occasion I finished a Time Attack race in first position but when I proceeded to the scoreboard I had finished in third. I also witnessed the opposition cars go missing from the minimap, and on one Special Event the opponents car disappeared from right next to me and suddenly was ten seconds back. Again these are not game breaking but did put a slight dampener on my enjoyment. I played Gravel on an Xbox One X and so far it is the only game to cause my console to become very loud, just like the in-game car revving. I also tested it on the One S, and it did appear to have a few more technical issues, including the race starting with my driver sitting in mid-air!

Despite the occasional bug I absolutely loved my time with Gravel. Overall, it took around 13 hours of gameplay to finish the Off Road Masters on medium difficulty, and I still have around 60 stars to go back and collect, which I plan to do. There is also an achievement for reaching Level 50, and I’m currently at 37, so there is still content left to do, including the multiplayer. The Forza Horizon games are notable for their vast amount of content, and at a recent game event, their studio head discussed whether or not there is too much content, and Gravel is much shorter, and at full price you may need to question the game’s value for money. But the major reason to go and buy this right now is that it is really, incredibly good fun. As you are sliding around corners or bombing down a beach you will be smiling, and that’s a good enough reason as any to make this purchase. If you only have room in your life for one off-road racing game then Forza Horizon 3 is probably the one to go for, but this is a very credible second place for me.

Thanks to Xbox and Milestone for supporting TiX

Crackdown come to Xbox Backwards Compatibility

Finally! Well that’s what I thought when Microsoft announced the release of Crackdown to the Backwards Compatibilty program on the Xbox One X. In fact, only last week I was wondering why it wasn’t already there and assumed it would be linked to the release of Crackdown 3, in a pre-order bonus kind of way. Does the fact that the release of this now mean that Crackdown 3 is delayed again, or that news is imminent and this release is being used to get gamers all excited about the franchise again?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_9fG8hPCi0

And it’s not just Crackdown that is coming to the Backwards Compatibility program. Also now available are Fable Anniversary, Forza Horizon and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.

A new feature has also been added which allows greater control over the graphical settings of the 360 games on the X. When you play Enhanced Xbox 360 games on Xbox One X, you can now choose how to experience them—with enhanced graphics or in their original form. Enhanced graphics will be turned on by default, running your game with higher resolution, 9X the pixel count, increased texture details and antialiasing, allowing you to enjoy greater visual clarity than ever before. If you turn off the Graphics setting, the graphics will be comparable to the experience on Xbox One or Xbox One S.

This new setting can be found on the old 360 guide, opened by pressing the “View” and “Menu” buttons together on your controller.